As is true of any skill, when you first start learning storytelling, you’re going to have some struggles and growing pains, in this post here I share how I faced my worst storytelling fears. Certain aspects of your stories might fall flat, and overall the story might not get the response you’re hoping for. This is a natural progression of learning a new skill, so don’t panic. However, just because this is bound to happen doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything about it. You ought to be changing your storytelling style to better match your audience’s reactions.
There are two different times when you’re going to want to change up your storytelling style. One is in the moment when you’re in the midst of a presentation or up on stage. The other is before or after the fact, when you’re sort of mapping your stories out.
When you’re trying to adjust your stories on the fly, it’s usually because your story is not being received well by the audience at all. You might see confused appearances, or people just generally being bored and disinterested.
The first thing you need to do is observe what the audience is doing. Determine if they’re bored, angered, disgusted, and so on. This can help you know what exactly needs to be changed so that you can make the right adjustments.
The other thing you need to remember when changing on the fly is to remain calm and collected. This is difficult, but if you start stuttering and quickly change gears completely, it’s going to be plainly obvious to the audience that you’re struggling.
Instead of changing gears on the fly quickly, slowly adjust into a different style over the course of a minute or two. The audience may begin to perk up as your style starts to become more interesting to them.
If you’ve decided to change up your story after the fact, that’s also acceptable. Taking time to deliberately go through your story and figure out what went wrong is a great way to improve it for the future.
You’ll still want to take stock of the same general reactions as you would when changing in the moment, but since the presentation is over, you can take your time figuring out what would work better.
The only difficult part about changing after the fact is that you have to go on and test it again somehow, whether it be at another event or with someone directly. This will give you the feedback you need to make further improvements.